Summary: Beginning of Christmas series, from Ephesians 2:13-21. Descriptions of how Jesus brought peace.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
Peace on earth. Goodwill toward men.
I really can’t think of a single message that the world is more ready to hear this time of year and this point in history, can you?
And it just so happens to be the title of the series we’ll be going through this month. So I can’t think of a better event than Sundays here where you can invite your friends and neighbors, can you? People are longing for real peace, and they’re ready to hear about it.
This past week reminded us that we might look like we’re at peace, but really we’re not.
Still it doesn’t take a terrorist threat to throw off your peace.
There’s a home somewhere where the Mom and Dad aren’t getting along. They’ve been threatening divorce, and neither of them really wants it, but they don’t know how to get the fighting to stop. Neither do their kids.
There’s a guy in high school. He’s feeling pretty harassed and pushed around by the worry of what everyone thinks of him. Meanwhile, he’s still trying to figure out what he thinks of himself.
There’s a man at a job he really doesn’t like. It’s stressing him out as the company puts more and more on him and expects him to just keep doing it.
There’s a single mom, trying to make the finances work out. She didn’t plan for her life to be this way, but it is.
There’s an elderly lady, living by herself. Her family doesn’t really keep track of her very well, and her retirement isn’t going to last. Life seems to have fewer reasons for her to have peace.
Today, in San Bernardino, CA, there’s a community of people in shock, some who are grieving. And because of what they face now, there’s a whole country of people, on edge, disagreeing about what to do.
And the bells are ringing “Peace on earth, goodwill to men.”
What - is that some kind of delusional escape? Some kind of head-in-the-sand idealism? I don’t think so. I’m no genius, but what message could be more desirable than peace on earth right now?
The whole Bible is a message about a wonderful plan for peace. That started in Genesis, and has yet to conclude. All along the way there are previews about the coming Peace. Sure enough, on the night that Jesus is born, the angels come and announce the good news of great joy which will be for all the people: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among men on whom His favor rests. Peace on earth, goodwill toward men.
It’s in keeping with that great news that I want us to begin to consider a different part of the Bible for the Christmas season – one that’s after the fact of Jesus’ ministry on earth; one that looks back.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.
The mission of Jesus on earth was a mission of peace. Next week, we’ll see how it brings peace between Jesus and us. On Christmas Sunday, we’ll talk about the way it brings peace between us and God. Today, we’re seeing how Jesus brings us peace with each other.
I love the way God’s word has always applied to life! There have always been people struggling to get along with each other, and that was true for the Church from the day it started.
The good news about Jesus was first given to the Jewish people. They were looking for the Promised One of God, the Messiah, to arrive, and for the Jews to learn that Jesus was that Promised One made for a very natural and wonderful transition in their relationship with God. But many of the Jews didn’t see any room for non-Jews in God’s plan. Or, if there was room, it was as 2nd rate members.